Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

April 30, 2015

Final Fantasy Type-0: Kill ‘Em All, Kupo! (Part 5)

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll go ahead and say it again for posterity’s sake: I used to have a PSP, but it decided to up and die on me.  The likely reason is that its internal parts melted from overheating -- which is plenty feasible, considering how hot that sucker got when I used it.  Incidentally, the last game I played on it -- and really, the only game I bothered playing on it besides a packed-in ATV racer -- was Dissidia: Final Fantasy.  So I can’t say I shed any tears over the loss.  I did have a DS to fall back on, after all.

I also can’t say that I look fondly on Dissidia.  The idea behind it was certainly a good one, and some of the moves in it hit harder than a runaway freight train, but the gameplay system -- the Brave and HP gauges -- added a level of complexity that didn’t need to be there, and it was way too easy for things to turn into a button-mashy mess.  I don’t think I need to tell you that the story didn’t hold up (unless you’re the sort who enjoys playing through the same character arc about nine times in a row), but that would have been okay if the gameplay left a strong impression years after its release.  It didn’t.  I played it plenty, sure, but probably just because of the novelty of the thing instead of the merit.

And that brings us to Type-0 -- a game that, once again, has a bad story.  But this time, it’s starting to look like the gameplay really can’t make up for it.  The novelty sure as hell can’t.

April 27, 2015

So How Good is Star Trek, Really?

Does it make me more of a nerd to admit that I think Star Trek is really cool?  Or does it make me less of a nerd because I’m only just now admitting that in writing?

I guess I should start by saying that in this case, I’m talking specifically about Star Trek: The Next Generation, because I happened to catch a few episodes of those recently.  But I’m not opposed to any of the others.  Quite the opposite; when I was a little baby Voltech I used to drift off to sleep thanks to the lulling tones of reruns for TNG, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.  (Not Enterprise, though -- I don’t remember there being any reruns, at least none that threw themselves at me.)  Most of the show’s dialogue was lost on me, naturally, but these days?  If and when I catch reruns of TNG, I find myself pulling a Shulk and going “I’m really feeling it!”

In all honesty, though, I’m still a greenhorn when it comes to the franchise.  So what do you say we unpack this for a bit?  I’m sure it won’t be that hard, seeing as how it’s already off to a strong start.  As if you needed a reminder that SPACE IS AWESOME.

April 23, 2015

Final Fantasy Type-0: Kill ‘Em All, Kupo! (Part 4)

There’s a part of me that wants to see Platinum Games make a character action game based on Modern Family.

I’m not just saying that because Platinum makes some of the best games around.  Nor am I saying it just because I started watching Modern Family (reruns, mostly) semi-recently.  It comes from an honest belief that the show utilizes its characters much better than I would have guessed.  We’re talking about a cast of eleven -- a full dozen once new kid Joe starts talking -- with episodes that feature as many as five plots running simultaneously.  It’s consistently funny, and that’s largely because it follows the golden rule: characters create opportunities.  Plus it can get pretty freaking absurd. 

So yes, I want to see more of them, and I think that it’d be nuts to see what Platinum could do for them.  Yeah, Modern Family’s not exactly fight-intensive, but imagining the possibilities puts a smile on my face.  What if Phil had to stave off an attack from lonely magicians with trapeze skills?  What if Jay did sick dog combos to be graded Pure Platinum by a panel of judges?  What if Cam had a Devil Trigger that turned him into his clown persona?  I could go on, but the point is that there’s so much that can be done with characters -- and whether they’re given the Platinum touch or not, the guys behind Modern Family have done enough.  They get the importance of good characters.

Squeenix, however, does not.

April 20, 2015

Mortal Kombat X: A Very Special Post

Full disclosure: I’m pretty sure I’m on record -- maybe even here on this blog -- saying something along the lines of “I hate Mortal Kombat” or “I’ve never like Mortal Kombat”.  So yeah, I can’t exactly claim that I’m fair and unbiased here; that said, the latest Mortal Kombat installment is out, I played it, and…yeah, it’s all right.  Neither its story nor its gameplay are mind-blowing, but it’s still serviceable.  And I’d bet that it IS mind-blowing for the true fans.  I’ll try and get a post uploaded explaining my thoughts, but only after I’ve spent more time with it.

Until then, there’s other stuff worth talking about.    Stuff that I really don’t want to wait to get into, seeing as how it’s been fresh on my mind, and it’s a pretty important subject.  For those unaware: MKX’s story mode brings us newcomer Kung Jin, who was recently confirmed to be the canon’s first gay character.  In typical internet fashion, it caused quite a stir, with harsh words thrown from both sides.

So.  Assuming that I have the tact for it, what do you say we have a little discussion on it?

April 16, 2015

Final Fantasy Type-0: Kill ‘Em All, Kupo! (Part 3)

I think capes are stupid.

This isn’t just someone who lives in a post-Incredibles world.  It’s just that I’ve never really seen the appeal of capes; sure, guys like Superman or Dracula can pull it off, but they’re just so gaudy and cumbersome.  Now, something like a nice, long scarf?  Not exactly practical in a fight, but still plenty cool.  Capes, not so much.  I mean, I’d prefer no cape to a costume over anything else, including scarves.  See: more Kamen Riders than I can count, but let’s start here.

So I can’t say I’m too keen on Class Zero’s capes.  They’re in Type-0 so that the cadets of Akademeia can tell at a glance what person is in what class -- and their home country has a high reliance on magic, so it fits the motif.  Though that begs the question of why soldiers would go out onto the battlefield wearing prim and proper uniforms, and to a lesser extent takes some of the oomph out of their character designs.  Then again, that’s a complaint you could lob at a lot of Japanese stories, and to be fair it’s not as if the fourteen characters’ uniforms are 100% identical.  That’s a plus, even if they’re wearing stupid capes.

If it seems like I’m focusing too much on trivial matters like capes and uniforms…well, it’s because I am.  So let’s switch gears and talk about Type-0’s gameplay.  Hang your capes up at the door.

April 13, 2015

Let’s discuss Gundam Build Fighters Try.

There’s a part of me that wants to load up this post with all the spoilers I can, and that’s largely because this is a sequel series.  Gundam Build Fighters Try is the second season, while the vanilla Gundam Build Fighters is the first; you can technically get away with skipping the first season, but I wouldn’t recommend it because of just how GOOD the first season is.  That puts me in a situation where I have to not spoil either season, but also where in order to explain what’s good, I have to spoil things in one, the other, or both.  For anyone who wants to go in blind, that’s a problem.

So I guess there’s only one way to handle it: to spoil as needed in the paragraphs to come.  For those who are already willing to give it a shot, here’s a spoiler-free rundown.  Is Build Fighters Try good?  Yes.  Did I enjoy watching it?  Yes.  Is it better than the first season?  No.  Are there flaws?  Yes.  Is this season enough to sour me to the franchise?  Not even close; I’m waiting with bated breath for the announcement of a third season.

Now then.  Let’s get started.  With more spoilers than you can shake a beam saber at.

April 9, 2015

Final Fantasy Type-0: Kill ‘Em All, Kupo! (Part 2)

So does anybody remember what Cloud was actually like?

Given how FF7 played out, I was under the impression that Cloud was supposed to be a deep probing of the archetype, the concept, and the player.  Hey, you over there playing this!  You’re not a badass super soldier tough guy!  You’re just some wannabe!  But you know what?  That’s fine, because even if you’re not the coolest dude around, you can still be a good guy and do good things!  But even before the big reveal, I thought he was actually a bit of a joker.  Still a jerk, sure, but was Cloud (ignoring his appearances/actions in Kingdom Hearts, Dissidia, and especially Advent Children) ever what you’d call “angsty” or “emo”?  I honestly can’t say for sure.

I ask this for two reasons.  The first is that people have been calling Lightning “female Cloud” for years, and I don’t agree with that.  Her arc (such as it is) has no such merit, and even Advent Children Cloud has more color to him than she did over the course of three games.  Cloud’s specter hangs over the franchise, which wouldn’t be so bad if we had an ironclad understanding of just who he is.  And that feeds into my second point: there’s been an even bigger specter of AAAAAAAAAAAAANGST and EMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hanging over the franchise (and Squeenix games in general) for ages.  If Squeenix wants its reputation back, then it’s going to have to answer a simple question: how do you get rid of that stigma?

Type-0 is here to offer an answer.  Unfortunately, it’s the wrong answer.

April 6, 2015

Let's discuss Beyond: Two Souls.

Beyond: Two Souls is not a good game.  You should know that going into this post.

It’s not a good game.  It’s not a good movie.  It’s not a good story.  It’s not a good anything.  The nicest thing you could say about it -- like a lot of games these days -- is “at least it looks nice”.  And to what end?  I’d say it’s at the cost of everything else, but this game is largely the brainchild of Quantic Dream and David Cage.  He knew what he was doing.  So did his cadre.  Compromises had to be made, sure, but this is a game that at least tries, and likely tries hard, to stick to a creative vision.  That’s respectable, but the final product is proof that sometimes that isn’t always for the best.

At this stage, I’d bet that anyone who cares about the game already knows if they like it or not.  Enough words were spared via release window reviews.  The Best Friends Zaibatsu’s LP is practically a PSA on avoiding it.  Even I’ve gone on about it on more than one occasion.  So the assumption is that there’s nothing left to say.

Except there is.  Because what this game implies -- what it practically expects of us -- paints a pretty bleak picture of the gaming culture.

April 2, 2015

Final Fantasy Type-0: Kill ‘Em All, Kupo! (Part 1)

You know what I realized?  I never really explained why all my FF13-2 posts were titled “Good Morning, Kupo!”

There’s a cutscene early on in the game where leading lady -- sure, let’s call her that -- Serah strikes out on her adventure in earnest.  But before she can get too far, she meets up with one of her friends and offers her greeting.  Or rather, the player does; it’s one of the instances where you can choose from a handful of dialogue options.  One of them, as you can guess, is “Good morning, kupo!”  And the NPC says it right back.  It makes (just barely enough) sense contextually, because Serah’s weapon is actually a Mog that ends pretty much every sentence with kupo.  And yes, it’s precisely as grating as you’d expect.

For one reason or another, I can’t help but think of “Good morning, kupo” as a tribute to “Good morning, Crono” from Chrono Trigger.  And really, isn’t that just dandy?  It’s perfect for a game about time travel!  It makes for a multi-layered thematic implementation for a blog post title!  It’s a grim reminder of a line that lets a company half-built on nostalgia substitute effort and quality with pandering references that provoke shallow, guttural reactions from audiences hungry for new experiences instead of reminders of games long since bested!

Don’t worry, though.  That’s not as big of a problem with Type-0.  But it does have a major one.

April 1, 2015

Beyond: Two Souls is the Best. Game. EVER.

I’m not even joking here.  I am totally, 100% serious.  Don’t even bother to deny it, and you should definitely not pay attention to what day it is.  Take a seat and clench those teeth, because now it’s time for me to explain why.

Because today is a special, glorious, very important day.  And it’ll stay that way as long as you don’t look at the calendar.